Dar es Salaam. The Christmas trees are finally drying up and as the sounds of Jingle Bells is only a distant memory as curtains roll down on 2017.
As the days and months flew by many mouthwatering events took place that kept us entertained with every ticking second on the clock, from the fashion world to the music industry. These events made the industry very busy, with one thing in common, a leap into a brighter future.
In this end of year edition we take a recap of some of those thrills and frills that were worth your time throughout the year.
RC Makonda’s list
The year kicked off early with drama on the social media but then in February a rather unprecedented move the Regional Commissioner came up with a list of people involved in drug abuse and trafficking.
Drugs have always been an entertainers’ bane and there were time when some bragged openly about their involvement in the consumption of such substance.
This list came at a time when rapper Chidi Benz was struggling at a rehab with drug abuse related problems.
Many an entertainer was in the list something that left their fans spell bound, it as quite an illustrious one as it included actresses, musicians, promoters and even video queens.
Some of the high profile names to grace the infamous list included Vanessa Mdee, Wema Sepetu, TID, Agnes Gerald, Mr Blue, Tunda, Petitman, Romy Jones, the list is rather endless. Those were turbulent times for entertainers indeed!
Many of them pleaded guilty and were placed under supervision and some like TID even volunteered to join the campaign against drug abuse.
Though some calm returned after a short while, there are some whose cases are yet to be decided by the courts of law.
Diamond’s love triangle
Diamond Platinumz is undeniable one of the biggest stars of African music today and perhaps one of Tanzania’s greatest musical export who commands a huge following across the continent.
His meteoric rise to continental and international fame is a story that could make an epic film, a boy from alleys of Tandale who went on to prove a point to the world.
Though he might not be the greatest talent to have graced the stage, to most of his peers he is a dream come true for he has set the bar too high.
Off the stage, however, Diamond aka Chibu Dangote attracted attention for issues that were less musical. His taste for finesse does not stop with mansions, cars and fine clothing; he has an eye for beautiful women too, he dines and wines with the best.
His philandering ways became one of the most talked and trending issue on the social media when he openly admitted to cheating on his spouse Zari with video vixen Hamisa Mobeto.
The truth was going to set him free, free from the gossip that had now reached deafening proportions and his 3.9 million followers were demanding answers.
The denial game was becoming a tired cliché,.
According to the singer he had strayed with the model and the product of this liaison was the birth to a baby boy whom the model had chosen to name Abdul Latif.
It was a liaison that started with the video shoot of smash hit Salome and in his own word Satan crossed his way.
He, however, said that the kind of atmosphere that the model created was one that was meant to brew controversy, one that sent signals that I had deserted her in her hour of need. Unlike many women who choose to raise their lover’s child without drama, Hamisa Mobetto could have none of it!
Hamisa wasn’t comfortable with the laid down plan which was meant to keep her in the background.
Though Zari has since forgiven her straying boyfriend , there is a war of words raging in the social media between the two women.
Babu Seya’s release
Every December 9 Tanzania celebrates the Independence of Tanganyika, a day that is usually very eventful in many ways.
The 56th celebrations was unique in many ways a first, it was the first time that the Dodoma hosted such a celebrations, and then came the Presidential pardon, this too, was the first of its kind.
Death row convicts and those serving lifetime sentences were set free by the President sparking frenzy across the city.
The most popular of those acquitted were singers Nguza Viking aka Babu Seya and his son Johnson Nguza aka Papi Kocha who were serving life sentence in Ukonga Prison.
It was freedom at last after several futile attempts to appeal against the life sentence and they seemed resigned to their fate.
The social media got a bit noisy with their hit single Seya becoming one of the trending issues of the day.
Bars and night clubs dedicated on their playlists songs such as Fanta, Salima and Seya, with revellers dancing emotionally.
Many of their fans look forward to that concert when father and son shall hit the stage once again after 14 years’ absence.
At 21 years Elizabeth Michael aka Lulu’s life has been more of a fairy tale, she wined and dined with the high and mighty in Dar es Salaam.
Life for the young actress who rose to fame as child star was one on the super highway, but that was not until November when she was jailed for two years.
The jail term was perhaps not all that a shocker after the jury had unanimously agreed that the actress was guilty of unintentionally killing fellow actor and then boyfriend Steven Kanumba in 2012.
The judge cited a poor defense that the actress put up during the hearing and therefore in his own words Judge Rumanyika said: I was left with no choice but to convict the defendant.
The court session prior to her sentencing was quite a crowd puller as it was packed with relatives, artistes, and the general public who were anxious to hear the judge’s ruling.
It was a land mark case that drew emotions from different angles who had a version or two of their own story more especially because the involved parties were both Bongo movies’ stars in their own right.
Dogo Janja’s wedding
Age has been a very contentious subject in this part of Africa lately, once it was a symbol of wisdom as age-set was a key element in societal issues.
But for those in the showbiz it was more about the relationships that were considered inappropriate in terms of age .
As some forces put it then, this obsession with age was rather discriminatory and quite inconsiderate at some of the forces at play.
The story that rocked the entertainment world was the Irene Uwoya and Dogo Janja marriage, the only reason why society was so gripped with this story was not about the success or the failure of the marriage.
It was rather because of the age difference as the couple set the internet ablaze, Irene was on the receiving end as they called her all sorts of names.
Bongo Flava Rivalry continues
It was again a year of drama with the two main forces AliKiba and Diamond Platnumz lighting up the industry.
When AliKiba released ‘Seduce Me’, it was his first hit in almost 12 months, Diamond and co responded by releasing ‘Zilipendwa’. A war of words emerged, one that threatened to tear apart the industry.
The noise has been deafening and to a certain extent there are those who claim it is good for business. Whether good or not for the neutrals it is a bit distracting in many ways.
Rayvanny wins BET
Despite success by his seniors in the nascent Bongo Flava industry, Rayvanny beat the odds to become the first Tanzanian artiste to win the BET awards.
He joined Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo as the only artistes from East Africa to have won the prestigious award that defines black entertainment.
He beat well established artistes in the International viewers’ Choice Dave (United Kingdom), Amanda Black (South Africa), Changmo (South Korea), Daniel Caesar, Remi and Skip Marley all from Jamica.
This came after several years of false starts for artistes whose names are now synonymous with Bongo Flava itself such as Diamond, Vanessa Mdee and even Alikiba.
And it was from a very unlikely source, from an artiste who only made a break through over a year ago.
The gloom at Miss Tanzania
Miss Tanzania continued to be a very troubled place with organisers failing to get sponsorship to stage the final event.
The opted for the easier way out to get a representative for the Miss World contest, just as the case was in 2011, the committee went for last year’s runner up! The reasons that have so far been given just don’t add up whatsoever.
The recent misfortunes in the industry which began with the coronation of Siti Mtemvu in 2014 have left the pageantry in tatters.
As predicted then, the in-fights have reduced sponsors confidence in the contest that at one time was one of the hottest dates on the entertainment calendar.
The emergence of Aslay
Tanzania’s showbiz has been a very noisy place lately to the tune of threatening an outbreak of a fully blown conflict, shaking the very foundations that the nascent Bongo Flava was built on.
However, far from the maddening crowd a Prince has been born and he has taken away the spotlight from the so-called kings and queens of the industry with compositions that will last long enough to tell the tale.
Dogo Aslay’s compositions have taken the Bongo Flava fraternity by storm with his releases in the solo project just months after they split.
He has been churning hit after hit with songs such as Mhudumu, Likizo, Usiitie Doa featuring Hadija Kopa, Angekuona, Pusha,Natamba, Mario, Hauna and several others becoming household names.
Unfortunately, with the nature of Bongo Flava industry not many seem to be paying attention to the great lyrical content and the art of storytelling that this lad exudes in his compositions.
Maybe the wait is finally over for that breath of fresh air in what seems to be congested room saturated with Afrobeats.
And as many a pundit admit he is the lad to beat in 2018.
The dry awards season
It was a year of no awards at all despite having several that are registered by the National Arts Council.
Awards such as the Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music Awards and the recently registered EATV awards remained as mere talk.
Though Basata is yet to publicly admit that the former sponsors have withdrawn their funding, it is quite clear that the only thing that is holding the once prestigious awards at bay is the funding crisis.
It is a crisis that doesn’t seem to be close to an end as more companies are getting tight on s[pending money on none revenue generating ventures.
They might be forced to channel their energies elsewhere.